Resolving Material Culture Disputes: Human Rights, Property Rights and Crimes Against Humanity
in James A. R. Nafziger & Ann M Nicgorski, eds., Cultural Heritage Issues: The Legacy of Conquest, Colonization and Commerce (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2009) 371-388
Posted: 28 Mar 2014
Date Written: 2009
Artworks stolen from victims of the Nazis, along with the material cultural heritage of many indigenous peoples removed during colonialism, have both been the subject of significant literature in recent years. Few writers, however, seem to have attempted to compare these two categories with each other. This may partly be explained by the scarcity of reported judicial decisions concerning claims for the return of Indigenous material, in comparison to the relatively large number of cases brought to recover artworks stolen by the Nazi regime. This chapter will first endeavor to explore whether these two types of claims should be treated according to similar principles or whether they present differences that warrant contrasting approaches. It will then discuss appropriate strategies, besides litigation, for resolving disputes involving both types of claims.
Keywords: Artworks, Cultural property, Indigenous Peoples, Colonialism, Nazi plunder, Theft, Repatriation
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